Oct 31, 2012

Surprises and Deadlines

The past month or so has been full of surprises.  Ok, just one really, but it's big enough to fill up a whole month!

Let me back up.  One of the ... interesting? surprising? unsettling? ... things that we learned as we meticulously went over our adoption agency contracts with our case worker several months ago was that if we happened to get pregnant at any point during our adoption, the adoption would be terminated ... not put on hold, no refunds, nothing.  It would just be over.  It wasn't that we didn't want to have another baby ... but we want so much for this adoption to happen as quickly as possible.  The idea of having to start all over was, quite frankly, pretty scary.  We actually stopped and thought about and prayed about changing to a different agency, but believing that God had led us to AGCI specifically, we decided to just trust Him to take care of things.

Well ... early in September, our agency announced that they revised their policy.  The new policy states that in the case of pregnancy, they will put an adoption on hold for up to 12 months.  Or in the case of a lengthy adoption ... like ours ... the adoption would continue as normal.  The only stipulation is that there are at least 10 months between the youngest child in the family and the adopted child.

Well, God has incredible timing!  And if we ever wondered if His hand was in all of this, we wouldn't now.  We found out early this month that we are expecting our third baby on June 3rd!

So ... they announced the policy change 7 weeks ago, and I am 9 weeks pregnant.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  And as far as AGCI's requirements, at the end of our 24-month-ish waiting list time, this baby should be about 17 months old.  Perfect timing!

For those of you who have know us for a while, you might know how crazy this is.  We were married almost five years before we had Connor and had to wait quite a while for Hayley, too.  I had many months of tears as we waited for each of them.  So for God to surprise us with this little blessing is just about more than I can take in.  We are so excited and so thankful!

As far as the specifics on the adoption, we are in the final couple of days before our November 2nd deadline to turn in our dossier!

We have several more pieces of paperwork to get done before then, but most of them shouldn't be too difficult to get finished.  The only ones that are a little unnerving are getting our local criminal background checks done and getting the finalized home study.

We were supposed to have the home study already in hand, but the agency has asked for several revisions, the (hopefully) last of which Cole sent the information for to our social worker this morning.  He will still have to make the changes and get approval from AGCI.  Then we will have to get the finalized and notarized copy from him before we can send in our USCIS I600A application that I talked about in the last post.  Then that's the last piece we will need for the dossier ... the receipt saying we sent in the application.  It's a lot to get done in two days, but I know it's possible.

And no, we aren't criminals. :)  But getting a criminal background check is harder than I would have thought.  There are very specific requirements that have to be met that the police station isn't used to having to deal with.  And we've run into a couple of snags with getting them notarized, etc.

If you are willing, we would ask that you would pray with us through these last couple of days.  Here are some specific requests:

1)  That Brad (our social worker) would be able to get the revisions done and that AGCI would approve the home study in the next day or so.

2)  That we would be able to communicate well with the police department as we go to get the criminal background checks this afternoon and that they would be understanding and that all the required people would be there.

3)  That God would provide the rest of the money we still need to be able to send in with the dossier.

4)  Praise God with us for wonderful surprises and precious babies!

We're very excited that we're getting so close!  I'll keep you guys updated as things wind down for this phase in our adventure.

Have a very blessed day!


Sep 26, 2012

My Way-Past-Due Update ... and Lots of Excitement!!

So ... what's been going on around here since May??

Here goes a QUICK rundown of the past several months in our adoption:

In June we sent off our FBI check requests.  They told us it could take about 13 weeks to get the results back from them.  But just a couple of weeks later we had them in our hands! I guess Cole's writing all over the envelope really worked. :)

One of the very time-consuming things related to adoption is the adoptive parent education.  We did several hours of online education as well as doing a workbook that helps you think through a lot of the different scenarios related to adoption.  It was a bit tedious, but we also got to do some pretty fun stuff.  

One of our assignments was to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant in order to learn something about the culture as well as to feel a little bit of what our child will feel when he or she comes home and has to eat our strange food. :)  By the way, we learned that there are at least 12 Ethiopian restaurants in the DFW area.  Who knew?! 

This is the family-style Ethiopian meal we had.  The big flat bread that is under the rest of the food on the large platter and the rolled up pieces in the bottom left of the pic are pieces of injera.  It serves as your plate, your utensils and your bread all at the same time.  Cool huh?!  The food is definitely different.  REALLY spicy!  But it has good flavor ... if you can taste while your mouth is on fire. :)

Once we finished the adoption education, we started our official home study process.  VERY exciting!  We had two meetings with our social worker, who is GREAT.  And after several hours of answering every question imaginable and sending a ton of information to him, we have a completed home study turned in to our adoption agency for review!!

Right now we're working on the last steps before getting on the waiting list!!!!!  We're beyond excited that we should actually be on the waiting list in about six weeks!  Right now it's about a 24-month-long waiting list.  But at least we'll be on it. :)

The step we're on right now is getting the dossier documents together.  This includes the finalized home study, documents from employer, reference letters, criminal checks, etc.  Once we get our finalized home study, we send it and our application off to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. This is the application for permission for our child to enter the U.S. with us once the adoption is finalized.  Very important!! :)   

Once that's all done, we will send in the completed dossier, the receipt proving we mailed the USCIS application, and the next check to All God's Children.  And once everything is approved by them, we're on the waiting list!!!  I can't wait!

November 2nd is our deadline for mailing all of this off.  If you would be willing to, please pray with us that our home study would be finalized on time, that we would be able to get all of the documents from all of the different sources together, and that God would provide the rest of the money that we need.  The amount that we have to send to AGCI along with the fee for the USCIS application and fingerprinting is a pretty daunting sum in a pretty short amount of time.  

Please pray that God would increase our faith.  The verse that has been echoing in my heart for several weeks is from the story of the father of the demon-possessed boy whose release seemed impossible to the father (and to the disciples).  When he said to Jesus, "But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" Jesus replied, "If You can?  All things are possible to him who believes." And the father's response is my prayer also.  He said, "I do believe; help my unbelief."  God has been faithful in our lives over and over again.  Yet somehow it is still hard to trust Him with something so huge.  I am so thankful that He is infinitely patient with me!

Please pray also that He would provide in His way and in His time.  We've already been amazed by the ways that He has begun to provide!  

We have gone weeks not knowing where this money would come from. And only last Thursday, we realized that we had a little over five weeks in which to come up with the money.  One thing after another has happened in our lives that has required significant amounts of money ... a storm-damaged roof, a car in need of repair and tires, etc.  Our emergency fund is depleted from those things as well as from the previous amounts we've paid for the adoption already.  And I'm pretty sure that's how God has wanted it. :)  We wouldn't recognize our need to fully rely on Him if we had something saved up.  But the way things are ... we have to depend on Him for every dollar. 

We had told a handful of people about our need.  But on Sunday, I told our Sunday school class ... we teach college students ... so that they could pray with us.  Once before God has answered the prayers we have asked our students to pray with us in a pretty incredible way, I believe to increase their faith as well as ours.  So, I told them about this one as well.  

Obviously we did not expect college students to help us financially ... most of them could use help themselves.  All we wanted was for them to pray with us.  But two of our students said God had been laying on their hearts to help us, and so they did.  And then on Monday we received a very large check  from our mortgage company.  It turns out we had been overpaying.  Who gets a check from their mortgage company?!  I was in shock.  And then Monday night, God provided another huge amount from some people we love very dearly.  So in about a day and a half, God provided $4363!!  Is that not amazing?!  Is God not amazing!?!  I'm overwhelmed by His goodness toward us.  We're 70% of the way there.  Praise God!!

So that's where we are adoption-wise!  I will do an update about the rest of what's been going on in our family another time.  :)

Have a wonderfully blessed day!


May 23, 2012

Next Steps

Time for an update!

A few days after we sent off our contracts, we were told that they had been approved.  Hurray!  Not that we were worried, but it's always great to be official.  We got our Adoption Planner a few days after that.

Tuesday of last week we had our first (phone) meeting with our case worker at AGCI!!  So exciting!  She talked us through most of the steps we'll be taking from now until we turn in our dossier.  Wow!  There's a lot of stuff.  She also told us the things that we should start working on right away.

They have Next Steps to take like FBI checks by 1 week, CPS checks by 2 weeks, etc.  Very helpful ... and a little daunting. :)

It turns out you have to have a CPS check for every state and country you've lived in for 3 weeks or more since you were 18.  It should be interesting getting a CPS check from another country ... especially one not particularly known for it's speed in red-tape matters.  I'll be interested to see how that goes.

AGCI has a rule that we have to have EVERYTHING for the home study and dossier turned in within 6 months of the date of our application.  So by November 15th we have to have everything finished.  That seems like a long way off until you look at the different steps and they say they can take 13-14 weeks, etc. etc.

Thankfully, back when we were planning on doing the home study first, we went ahead and got most of the documents together that we would need and filled out the information about ourselves ... unless you've done a home study, you would not BELIEVE how many questions there are about your life.  It's crazy!  But ... it's mostly done already.  Hurray!

So our home study agency is working on the FBI checks, and we're trying to get the loose ends tied up on the packet for them.  Hopefully we'll be able to send that off in the next few days.

On a tangentially related note ... I know this may not seem that exciting to some of you, but it was SUPER exciting to me!

I got a FB message from a friend that I worked with at Old Navy when Cole & I were in college.  She said she had been following my blog and saw my Etsy shop.  She told me she has a shop, too, and that she has fabric left over that's not big enough for the things she does ... so she offered it to me!  And not a little bit of fabric.  A WHOLE BOX full!

If you have been to the fabric department at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn lately, you know how much fabric costs ... especially the minky dot fabric that she sent me.  It was like Christmas!

Thanks, Laura!  And you all should check out her shop Sweetheart-n-Sunshine.

I'm not sure what I'll do with all of it.  I had been wanting to buy some to use to add texture to my appliqu├ęs, so I'm sure I'll do that.  And I'll probably make a lot of these, too.

This one was for my sweet baby niece.  

And just for fun, here are some pictures of the cutest little model I know.  I'm trying to take pictures of everything I make so that I can add stuff to my shop.  This is the first time I've used Hayley as a model though.  I know I'm a wee bit biased, but isn't she adorable!!

And because I just  can't resist sharing their cuteness ...

May 1, 2012

And It's Off!

Can you believe I'm back for the second day in a row?  Yeah, me either. :)

But I need to finish the story, so here it is ... what's happened so far anyway.

Things have changed a bit since we began our journey.  We started off doing the application for the adoption agency, then we thought we would do the home study first, and now we're back to doing the stuff for the adoption agency again.  That was in large part because the home study agency wanted to know if the adoption agency had any specific requirements. And the adoption agency, for some reason, can't tell us their requirements until we are officially clients.  So here we are.

I know I'll probably remember more things that I need to share, but here's what I can think of at the moment from the craft shows until today.

Things got really busy with the craft shows, then keeping up with a new business, then the holidays.  We drove somewhere around 5,000 miles from Thanksgiving through the first week in January.  It was nuts!

We went to New Mexico for Thanksgiving,

then to Alabama for a friend's wedding,

then to Lubbock for a friends' funeral, then the next day we headed for Georgia to take our college group to Passion.

At the end of the week we went to Waco to pick up our kiddos from staying with my in-laws during Passion.

I need to back up a little though.

When we first chose our adoption agency, the expected time for an Ethiopian adoption was around a year and a half.  Not too long after that, it was reduced to about a year.  I was so excited!

A couple of days before Christmas, we got a call from the girl who would be our new contact person.  She introduced herself.  And then she told us that things had slowed down considerably.  They had 250 families in line and the process was slow.  She said we were looking at up to three years!  She asked us to consider changing programs unless we were sure that's what God wanted for us.  We told her we were sure and would just wait.  But our hearts were aching so much!

We had an amazing trip to Passion.  On the way back we were talking about things we could pray for each other for.  Cole's and my prayer request was that we were going to send in our application to the adoption agency and then would have 90 days to come up with the first big chunk of money ... of which we had only a small portion.  

The way we got that portion was pretty awesome though!  When we got home from Thanksgiving, we had gotten an anonymous money order in the mail for $300 along with a beautiful necklace with our kids' names and the phrase "Love Makes a Family."  It also has three pearls, one for each of our kids and one for the one we are adopting ... at least that's what I'm guessing ... that's what it means to me.  :)

A funny side story ... whoever sent it to us did not sign it (part of being anonymous, I'm sure) but since it wasn't signed we couldn't get the money.  Thankfully I went into the bank it was from and talked to some really nice people who were able to look something up about it and they cashed it for us.  Hurray!

Anyway ... back to Passion.  So we asked them to pray that God would provide the money that we needed before our time ran out.  We got home on Friday and found in the mail a gift that covered a HUGE portion of the amount we needed for the first step!  It was AMAZING!  We were  able to tell the students in class on Sunday that God had already answered their prayers!

In February we sent in our application ... and the clock started ticking.  We still needed a significant amount of money we didn't have.

Our application was approved very soon after we sent it in, and they sent us the contracts we would need to sign and send in with the first check.  When we talked to the girl from the agency, we were told that now the expected time was 3 1/2 to 4 years.  Not fun news!  But we still believe this is what God has for us.

We also found out that since we first got the information last year about how much it would cost, the initial amount had gone up by about $1300.  We had managed to get together the rest of what we needed, but now we had to come up with this extra amount.

My parents and sisters had a garage sale a few weeks ago and gave us a portion of the sales for the adoption.  Then a week or so ago, we received another anonymous donation of $1000!  I texted my family and told them that we were now only $125 away from having the extra we needed.  And immediately my mom texted back to tell me that she had $150 that some people from their church had donated!  Oh my goodness!!  It was incredible!

It's sometimes quite humbling to have to ask people for help, especially financially.  But it has been so incredible to see how God has used so many different people to provide what we need exactly when we need it!  God is SO good!!

And it gets better!  Last week we were getting ready to write the check to send in with the contracts, and I got an email from AGCI (our adoption agency).  They were announcing that, in honor of Mother's Day, they were doing a fee reduction for anyone who turned in contracts before June 29th.  A $1000 fee reduction!  What??  SO excited.  I immediately emailed our contact person just to make sure this would still apply to us even though we had already sent in our application.  And it does!!  How awesome is that?!

We have 4 months to get our home study and dossier done ... and now we already have more than half of what we need for the home study!  It's been so fun to get to tell everybody how God is working.  It's so awesome to have people get so excited with us.

So ... yesterday, we sent off our contracts!!

When AGCI approves them, we will officially be clients and will begin our home study and dossier!

We're so thankful to God for His faithfulness and provision!

Apr 30, 2012

Finally ... a post!

Wow!  When I said I wouldn't promise how soon I would post, I never imagined it would be this long!!

I'm almost too embarrassed to actually do it.  I could just shut down the blog & maybe no one would remember, right?  But I want the record of all of this as much as I want to share it.

THANKS to those friends who have asked about it ... you guys are my motivation to actually get something up here!  So here goes. :)

So much has happened in the past ... 8 months.  Really??  8 months?? Anyway, I will probably post over several days so that it's not too ridiculously long.  I'm going to try to do this semi-chronologically, but I'm sure I will forget things.

I guess the first major thing that happened started a couple of weeks after I last posted.

I love doing crafts.  Scrapbooking, cross-stitch, sewing ... anything.  I went a while back to a sewing party that my bestie had, and it got me thinking.  What if I were to make things and sell them to raise money for the adoption?

Cole and I talked it over, and I started making some things.  And All Things T-Shirt was born.

I started off making things out of repurposed t-shirts (hence the name) but soon added other stuff as well.  I opened a store on Etsy and had a little bit of success there.  My mom and sister came and helped me get some things made.  Then about the middle of September, I had two different ladies contact me on Etsy.  They had seen my shop and liked what I had and both asked me if I would be interested in doing craft shows ... in November.  Just under two months away.

I know people do craft shows all the time.  The issue was that I had no stock.  None.  Not even a little.  I also didn't have anything else I would need like, say, a booth, business cards.  And I knew that I wanted to change the name since the first one didn't fit anymore.  Oh ... did I mention I had never even BEEN to a craft show before?

Fortunately, I have a lot of talented people in my life who are AWESOME and helped me out a bunch.  I had several people thinking about a new name for the shop.  Cole came up with the one that we stuck with ... More than Sew-Sew.

My bestie is awesomely talented with Photoshop and spent a TON of time helping me.  She designed the logo, business cards, tags for the shopping bags, etc. etc.

Isn't it PRETTY!  She also made bows & helped me design the booth ... ok, I helped her design the booth.

My brother-in-law used to help his mom with her craft shows, so he helped a lot.  He helped me figure out how to make the booth, and then he and Cole and my nephew built it.  It's great ... and HUGE!

Toward the end of getting things ready, I moved my sewing stuff into my mom & dad's dining room because there was more room to spread out ... and there weren't two little kids trying to get into everything.  They had fun playing in the playroom with toys they didn't see all the time.  And there are gates. :)

Apparently I make a big mess when I craft.  See?

I spent A LOT of time over there.  I had my mom, both sisters and a girl from mom & dad's church helping cut out fabric, running to the store, and various other things.  Alana (my little sister) made bows.  My mother-in-law even came and stayed with my kids for a while so I could sew, sew, sew.  

And Cole helped out with all sorts of things.  Including staining the booth and spray painting outside in the dark.  

And designing my website.  It was good times!

After LOTS of work and LOTS of help, More than Sew-Sew was finally ready for the first craft show.

Reagan (the aforementioned bestie) and Cole went with me to the show.

I may not have made a lot of money, but it was fun.  And I learned A LOT!

We spent the next week changing some things up, and the three of us headed to the next show.  It was
somewhat more successful, though not as much as I had hoped.

Since then, I have spent countless hours sewing.  Business has picked up quite a bit, especially since the beginning of the year. And I do plan on doing more craft shows ... some day.

I was just reading a friend's blog and she was talking about how God care about7 the little things.  And I definitely see that in this endeavor.  He gave me the idea from a sewing party ... had people find my Etsy shop ... gave me a ton of help getting ready for the show ... and I always seem to get lots of orders when I have more time, and not so many when things are crazier.  It's definitely a God thing.

I haven't really made a ton of money so far ... actually I haven't even made back what we've invested in it.  But it really is picking up!  I know that this was God's idea, and I believe He's going to continue to use it as a way to raise part of the money we will need for the adoption.

I guess that's enough for today, but I promise to share more about the actual adoption stuff ... but I'm not going to promise when. ;)

Sep 2, 2011

Waiting is NOT My Favorite Sport

Patience is a virtue ... so I'm told.  But it's not one I currently possess to a high degree unfortunately.

Yes.  It has been another month since I posted last.  No.  I will no longer make any promises about how often I'll post. :)  Apparently blogging is also not my favorite sport ... or at least not the one I'm best at.  I actually do really enjoy it.  But why haven't I posted??  Because nothing has happened.  Seriously.

OK, so maybe that's mostly how I feel and not 100% accurate.  I think I mentioned in my last blog that after the journey to ... not end up adopting this precious guy (let's call him P from now on), that we decided we were going to do a home study that would let us adopt not only a child from Ethiopia but one from here as well if God opens those doors.  It turns out that was not the simplest of endeavors, however.

I contacted our home study agency (this is different from our adoption agency - since the adoption agency is in another state we have to have a separate agency do the home study) to ask how we should go about doing the home study in order to allow us to adopt from Ethiopia and the U.S.

The response I received nearly made me cry.  I was told that they could not, in fact, do a home study for an adoption from Ethiopia.  WHAT??  I have already done a bunch of the paperwork ... including getting references sent to them!!  Besides that, they are one of the agencies that AGCI (our adoption agency - All God's Children Int.) has listed as a partner for their Texas clients.  Also, I called them when we were looking at agencies to do the home study and they told me that, yes, they could definitely help us in getting a home study for an Ethiopian adoption.

After picking myself up off the floor, I emailed her asking for advice on how to go about doing two separate home studies or if she knew if we COULD do just one that would work for both through someone else or any other help with this apparently very difficult situation.  To which she replied that, oops, Ethiopia isn't a part of the Hague agreement (an agreement put in place among several countries that is supposed to help protect children and adoptive parents) yet and so they could do it after all.  Whew!!

I also learned that what appeared would be the hardest part of doing this double-duty home study, getting medical exams that both countries would accept, actually was no problem at all.  Ethiopia accepts the same one as the U.S.  Hurray again!!

So things should be moving along swimmingly, right?  You would think.  But no.  I had high hopes that we would be able to send all of our paperwork back to Lubbock (that's where the home study agency is) with my sister when she went back after being here for the summer.  That was two weeks ago, and we haven't finished it yet.  There are so many little details, and life has definitely gotten in the way.  It seems to do that quite often.

So here we are with an almost-complete set of documents and a very limited amount of time to devote to completing it.  My hope is that this holiday weekend will be just the time we needed!

I guess I should backtrack just a bit and describe a little bit about the way we're going about this.  We decided not long after beginning the process of adopting, that we were going to trust God to provide the funds we need as we need them instead of raising the money first and then beginning.  We definitely don't have them right now!  It is a super-scary but exciting step of faith for us.  Bigger than anything else I've ever done for sure.

We had the option to do the home study first, do the final application to the adoption agency first, or do both at the same time.  We decided to do the home study first.  Because, for one, doing both at the same time would be HUGE and because we have the money for the home study, and as soon as we submit the final adoption application about 1/3 of the money will be due.  And that's way more than we have right now.  I know we won't have it all before we're ready to submit it, but since there was the possibility of just doing the home study first, we decided to do that.  And then God's just going to have to take care of the rest of the money when we are done with this part!  Just like He has so far.

Back to the home study ...  Besides not feeling like we've had the time to work on the paperwork, we also have another very messy obstacle in front of us.  A while back, we started moving our rooms around to make room for the baby.  We had the kids in one room, the office in another and the third was my craft room.  We've since consolidated the office and craft room into one and moved the kids into the bigger room.  We contemplated for about 15 minutes moving just one of them and letting the baby move in with Hayley ... actually this was when we were thinking we were adopting two and might move P in with Connor and the baby-est baby in with Hayley.  But we were informed that that was a completely unacceptable proposition by Sir Connor.  He does NOT want his own room, thank you!  Not even if only for a while.

So we're in the middle of a room-swap.  "The Baby's Room" as it is lovingly called around here is full of office stuff that hasn't found it's way into the new office and part of the stuff that we are selling on Craig's List/eBay for the adoption.  (Thank you to my wonderful sister and her sweet, sweet friend who have donated things for us to sell to raise money!)  Hopefully this weekend will also allow us a little time to work on that, too.  Do you think I might be expecting a bit much from this weekend?? :)

But we do need to get it done before we send in the paperwork because as soon as they receive it, we will be setting up a meeting with the social worker.  And currently the poor guy wouldn't be able to even step foot into the room to tell us what we need to fix to make it adequately baby-proofed.

Anyway, that's what has been going on ... or not going on ... around here.  And I'm not dealing very well with not having it done yet.  So, on a more serious note, if you would be willing to pray for us that we would see what we need to leave undone for a while in order to make the time we need to get the last few things done and have the focus we need as well to finish the paperwork and get the last room ready for inspection, that would be greatly appreciated!!

Coming soon sometime:  greater detail on the adoption process, fundraising, anything else that comes up.  And I'll be sure to let you know when we finally do have the paperwork done and the house ready for inspection!

Jul 29, 2011

A Heartbreak and a Praise

Oh ... what to write??

Well, we have been waiting on news about what happened at the meeting with the other couple's lawyer and hadn't gotten word.  And honestly I've been too chicken to call and ask ... until today.

So I got up the courage to call this morning.  She told me that the birth mother has decided for sure to give consent for him to be adopted.  A HUGE praise!!  She has been going back and forth about it for a while and finally decided it was the right thing and that she is ready to go ahead with it.

However ... the other couple is going ahead with the adoption.  I have no words to describe how deeply my heart is hurting.  I thought that  I had prepared myself for the fact that they were planning to adopt him.  But apparently I was wrong.  Maybe that's not something you can prepare yourself for.

I guess in the back of my mind I really thought they were going to back out.  If God told us we were supposed to pursue this adoption then, of course, He would show the other couple - who is also seeking His will - that it wasn't the right thing for them, right?  Wrong again!

I know that there are probably dozens things that could be reasons that God would have asked us to say "yes" to this when it seems He is not going to allow it to happen.  Maybe He just wanted to test our willingess to obey?  Maybe He wanted to work on our hearts?  THAT He has done for sure.  Maybe He wanted to use this to light a fire under us for getting all of our ducks in a row for our Ethiopian adoption even more quickly?  Maybe He was wanting to prepare us for something else He has in store?  (Maybe even another similar adoption.  We're continuing the home study in the more complicated way that will allow us to be able to adopt from Ethiopia and domestically ... just in case.)  Or maybe one of a myriad of other reasons we can't even imagine.  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and Mythoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

What I do know is that I have been wondering for a while why lots of the things that I have been learning have been related to growing through the pain in our lives.  I guess God knew I was going to need that one, huh?  This is the second significant loss in my life in just over a month.

One thing I have learned for sure.  If there was ever any doubt in my mind whether I could love a child who didn't grow inside of me as much as I love my others (which I don't really think there was) there definitely isn't now.  I love this little guy so much, and I've never even met him ... just think if he had come to live with us for even a week.

On the one hand, I'm SO sad.  But on the other hand, I''m so happy for him that he's going to have a family that loves him and loves God.  I'm so happy that he will be in a home where he'll learn to love Jesus and grow up knowing that he is wanted and loved.  Both by his adoptive parents and by his birth mom who loves him enough to want to do what's best for him even though it's got to be so hard for her.

I could probably go on and on for a long time about how I'm feeling about this.  Just ask Cole (who's also so very sad), my sister, my mom and my dad who have all had to listen to me today.  - Ya'll are awesome, by the way! - But I'll spare you.  And honestly, this is about all the energy I've got left for today.

So ... please pray for this family, that God would work things out quickly for him to be able to go to his forever home as soon as possible.

And one last thing.  One of my new favorite songs is Forever Reign by Kristian Stanfill.  It came on while I was writing this, and it's definitely fitting in my life today.

The line that's most appropriate for today:

"Lord, I'm running to Your arms.  I'm running to Your arms.  The riches of Your love will always be enough.  Nothing compares to Your embrace."

God, please let this be true in me!